Friday, October 26, 2012


See that post down there? Man that was great. Like a big exhale. For the first time in years I didn't have to worry about who was coming and going and when. No bio visits, no drama, no looming court dates, no permanency hearings,  no time lines... well just one. National Adoption Day (NAD). We were going for the second year in a row. We were going to adopt our son. I had a plan. Finalize on NAD take off til June then start looking for my daughter. But three weeks ago I got a call that put all that to a screeching halt..Emmanuels biological father was trying to fight the termination. We were taken off the NAD list, we would just have to wait and see. First he had to go before a judge and see if he was even allowed to appeal. The judge ruled in his favor so here we go to appellate court and from what we know that is a minimum six month (most likely more) process. The ironic thing is the morning I got that call I had a moment while I was watching my two boys run around in the front yard that Emman's "mine-ness" clicked into place. Don't get me wrong I loved him from the day I learned about him. But there is this thing with the kids that come to my home (foster or adoptive) where at some point something clicks in my heart and they become mine (though I don't always experience this). So that morning mine-ness click, afternoon nightmare phone call. I was angry, upset, shocked, and so on. I was supposed to be on sabbatical, and I was right back in that place. Court dates, uncertainty, anxiety, fear, anger, crying in the shower, nightmare, and general heaviness.....I was praying and telling God how I was just so angry because I wanted a break from feeling afraid, a break from worrying, and waiting. I felt he said "That's up to you if you go back there. You could stand on my word instead. Hope in the unseen...but it's totally up to you" So here I am trying to stand on these words. Trying so lift my hands when everything is out of them, Trying to trust when my heart is laid bare, trying to sing praise when I don't know the ending.

Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Hebrews 4:16
 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Phillipians 4:6-7
 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life

Pray for us. Pray for us to trust the Lord with laughter and singing. That we would rest in His promises. That we would turn to God in our times of weakness and fear. That we would allow Christ to displace worry and the center of our lives. I heard a song lyric that said "We lift high His glory ,Shown throughout our stories" Let it be Jesus, Amen.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


For the first time in three years we are closed, inactive, off THE list. No adoption submissions, no emergency placements, no calls, no new kiddos. No Transitions. I know who will be here when The Fair comes, when the leaves fall, when it's time to carve pumpkins, to eat turkey, to celebrate Jesus's birthday.
The cast of characters will stay the same through these next seasons. This fact makes me feel rested, tired, peaceful, and anxious all at the same time. It is right. It is ordained. It is what I need. It is what they need. It is what we need.
But it felt foreign and wrong at first. When my caseworker called me and said we would have to go inactive before we had planned on going inactive, I struggled a little bit. During the last three years, these eight kids have been so hard and so, so good. And while I know it is just for a bit, mostly it feels kind of like a death.
Last week, we went to Galveston as a family. The first night we were there, we took the boys down to the beach to see it. We were running in the water and playing and laughing. Watching my boys with their Dadda, I was so thankful. That I was here and I had not missed this.
And right then and there in the Gulf I gave it a proper burial. I ate all the mistakes and grief and joy and washed it down with salt water and a little bit of hope. And finally, after three years of waiting and praying and searching and bracing, I stopped and breathed.
I let us just be a family. I allowed myself to stop being a crusader and just be a mom. I relished the fact that for the first time in three years everyone was where they should be and I knew what my family would look like at least for a little while...and it felt like coming home even though we weren't.


Friday, June 15, 2012


I recently went through a very long dry season spiritually. For a lot of reasons. But the other day I was praying and just going on about how dry my spirit was feeling and how desperate I was for fresh water on my parched soul. I felt like the Lord said "Of course you are in a dry season you have not been coming to the well of living water" I am sure this is Christianity/Spirituality 101 for all of you but it is revolutionary for me. So I have been going to the well trying to be consistent in prayer and devotion and the word and worship. I am trying to learn to abide in peace and joy and the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I do ok. Then my toddler locks himself and his brother in my van with my keys and my cell. Or a huge bill accidentally gets paid two times out of our account. Or my other toddler wont nap. Or someone gets sick. Or .... or...or...or.....
How do you abide then? I know God is bigger than my circumstances. I know that toddlers not napping is cake compared to what other people are wrestling with. But I want to know how do you abide in the midst of the chaos that is life? Does it get easier with practice?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Days like this

                                          When I started fostering, it was for days like this:

 or this:
 or, more recently, this:

But last Friday, I got to drive my most recent foster kids home. They had been in our home since August. Their parents have worked hard. They have turned their lives around. They have earned back the right to parent their children. I have cheered them on every step of the way and I am truly impressed at what they have overcome. I drove up in front of their home, decorated with balloons and was able to witness a very happy reunion. I got to pray with their family and take a family pic of them and drive away. I never thought I would love days like that; days where I hand over the kids I have raised for the last ten months, five months, or a year to their parents. I never thought I would love letting go or that I would realize that if I am really for the kids I parent and love and minister to that I MUST be for their parents too. I never thought that I would relish my loss and their gain. I am suprised; not by their redemption or healing, but by mine.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

On Mothers Day

To the woman who mothered me and really taught me what it's all about. Who labored for me for nine months plus thirty six hours plus thirty years and counting. Who sacrificed herself. Who raised me up and launched me. I cannot say enough. Thank you for letting me be who I am. For always supporting me even when you don't understand or agree. For Thai lunchs and pedicures, and laughing, and crying and grieving for being a soft place to fall but not so soft that I don't get up. It takes incredible grace which I am sure I still don't fully understand or appreciate.

For the ones who made me a mother for the first time.

 And for the ones who made me love being a mother

And for the ones who made me a forever mother

And for the ones who gave birth to my babies I honor you. And for the ones who have mothered my babies while I was still looking for them endless thank you's. For the mother's whose babies I have mothered for a season I am honored. For the mothers who I have watched fight to get their babies humble me and make me proud. For all you who walk beside me. For you who mentor me. Thank you thank you thank you.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


A while back I wrote this post. I cannot express the utter generosity of the community that supports us. Amazing support in the form of meals when we get placements, gift cards, and showers , and parties when they stay, and wine and chicken nuggets when they don't,  prayer, bikes on Christmas, diapers, formula, clothes, car seats, and on and on. We are always floored at how they all show up for us. When we started this journey even though we had a great community, the life we have been called to can be lonely. There is constant adjustment and transition. There is a lot of grief and loss. There is a lot that is hard to explain and understand unless you are in the thick of it. So the first year or so we were lonely and we prayed and prayed for someone to come alongside us. Someone that we could call and not explain what legal risk meant. Someone who would know what it was like to have a child just for a season but love them for a lifetime. People who we could talk to about CASA workers, permanency plans, levels of care, respite, Star Health, bio visits, and all the other intricacies of this life. We prayed for one couple. One couple who would do life like us. Who would do family like us. In the last year we have had four couples come alongside us in foster care. These are couples at the same life stage we are that feel passionately about orphan care also. So about a month ago when we had three couples (plus us) at our house and all of them were somewhere on the road of foster care I couldn't believe it. Then a few weeks ago when we were at our shower for our new addition and those same couples were there (plus another couple who just filled out the preliminary application to our agency) I thought why not this is what God is about...multiplying things. And He is just so good at it.
                                                   Here I am with my fellow foster mama's

Read their stories here, here, and here and be blessed and challenged!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

What makes you want to run through walls? or 13 miles?

Months ago after watching this video a foster friend of mine said it made him want to run through walls. I agreed. For me its the orphan crisis. Its orphans. I want to run through walls. It sets my heart on fire. It keeps me up at night . It keeps me pushing myself and my family out of our comfort zone. I talk about it. Dream about it. Recruit for it. Cry about it. And now I run for it. There is a race and a family. The race is the Chosen Marathon and the family is the Garza's. I will be running and raising money to help bring their babies home. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Films About Ghosts

I am finally doing our last placement's book. It has been over a year since they left.

When kids leave, I make a book on Shutterfly of the pictures I have of them. It is something I need to do; yet, it is something I hate to do. I have to write the ending to a chapter when I don't know the ending. I scroll through the picture files on my computer and one day, the kids are there; the next, they're gone. *Poof* One day, we are feeding ducks as a family of five. The next, we are at a restaurant as a family of three. I seal off their rooms and donate the stuff they couldn't take. I zumba, remodel, eat dump cake, drink wine, and somehow find a new norm. Until two more kids appear in my picture files. Then, we find another new norm until they disappear. Sometimes, I think I forget. Then I start making their book and realize I never forgot at all. I arrange the pictures. I label the pages. I give name to their time here. I remember all the things documented, and all the things not. I remember the truck pulling off and turning away before it disappeared because I could not stand to watch it roll out of sight.

Friday, March 9, 2012

God Is With Us

We got THE call again. You know - the big call for adoptive parents. The one that says you were picked to be a little boy or girl's forever parent. The first time we got the call, it went like this.

Our new son's name is Emmanuel. Emmanuel means God is with us. He is 22 months old and he is beautiful.

Here's where it began for him. About a year ago, last February, we were considering a legal-risk placement named Miracle. On the intial email we got about her, there was info about another child in her foster home named Emmanuel - which is unusual. Ultimately, we didn't get picked for Miracle. We moved on and continued submitting for and pursuing adoptions as they came up. We started feeling like maybe the next child we were going to adopt would be a teenager, so we started pursuing teens.
Flash forward to February of this year.
We had just submitted for a 14 year-old named Will and I got an email from my adoption caseworker about a child named Emmanuel which asked: "Is this the same Emmanuel who was with Miracle?" It was. They hadn't found him a home. On a whim, I told her to submit us, thinking nothing of it. We submit for adoptive placements as often as we change underwear. Seriously. We have NEVER been picked for one; even Isaiah was a foster placement.

Weeks went by and we heard from Will's caseworker. They wanted to move forward with us. The next step was a selection staffing which is a meeting where everyone discloses more info about the child and everyone has the opportunity to ask more questions. My caseworker had said to us: "If you move forward and end up getting Will, you will not be able to move forward with Emmanuel." We felt peaceful about that. We believe God brings the right kids, at the right time and for the right amount of time. We went into that Tuesday selection staffing thinking we were submitting for a fairly typical teenager who had been in fostercare. This turned out to not be the case as the meeting disclosed some shocking info. We were heartbroken about his story, but ultimately did not feel that he would be a good fit.
The very next day, we got a call that we were chosen to go to Emmanuel's selection staffing the following Tuesday. Tuesday came and we waited and prayed. I didn't even realize how much I wanted him until I was faced with the possibility of not getting him. On my way to get my foster daughter from school, on the side walk pushing Isaiah in a stroller, and holding the hand of my foster son - halfway between my house and the school - my caseworkers called me on speaker to tell me that Isaiah would have a brother. And that I would be a forever mom again. I cried right there on the sidewalk. Humbled and awed by the plan that God has for me and my family. Cried from thankfulness that God is with us, and He just gave us a daily reminder.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

It is only a season...It is all a gift (my current mantra)

This life, this season, where I am right now...I have a tendency to bless it and curse it in the same breath.
The other day, I was walking into the CPS office with my kids - foster and adopted - so they (fosters) could have a bio visit. There was a little boy crying and crying, his foster dad was stoically putting him in the car while the boy's bio mom stood behind the dad and cried. The boy kept saying, "I don't wanna leave!" I thought, I hate this place. Hate that I know these things happen, and by know, I mean I've been the foster mom stoically putting the screaming kid in the car. Hate that I can't unknow. Hate all of it. Hate that I'm dealing with baggage other people packed. Hate how it inconveniences me and affects my family.
Then, that afternoon as my husband was teaching our foster daughter memory verses, and Isaiah and my foster son were playing peacefully (rare). I was humbled that this is what I get to do with my time, my resources, my heart. Sometimes I am drowning, sometimes I am swimming. It's all a gift. The two foster kids who we have now are hard. This placement is hard. It has taken a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and seven months to get to where we are. And by the way, on a good day, where we are is still as uncomfortable as a pair of cheap shoes. When I complain about it, some people have said: "Well, this is what you wanted." So, let me be clear...this is what I want. Even when I feel like I am drowning, this is what I want, because in radical obedience to Jesus, the blessing always outweighs the burden.
It is only a season. I am trying to learn to unclench my fist and let God complete the work. It is only a season. To open my hands and recieve just what it is that he has. It is all a gift. Because my hope is in Jesus I know that it is a long hard road (season) with a good, good end (gift).

Friday, February 17, 2012

All about Isaiah 20 months

I decided to do something different this month for Isaiah. I am going to do 20 things I love about you at twenty months.
1) Your dancing - You dance all the time. Yesterday we walked into a restaurant and you dug the beat and just busted a move as soon as you heard it. You make your toys play music and dance. If one of your shows plays some music that you like you run to where ever I am and show me your moves. Love this!
2) All your new language. I love this stage of development it is my favorite! You say baby, horse, mama, Matt, Bubba, Nana, apple, horse, bye bye, night night, love you, nose, mouth, shoes, sock, and so much more.
3) Watching you eat a whole apple.
4) The way your nose wrinkles up when you smell something. Which you do all the time.
5) When you pray. You fold your hands up by your face and mumble some stuff then say "Amen"
6) When you jump you say "1,2,3!" then you jump and it is stinking cute.
7) That you call your Dada "Matt" ( he doesn't love this but I think its cute)
8) Your laugh is addicting. Always has been, always will be. End of story.
9) How when you really love a food you eat very aggressively and say "nom nom nom"
10) You wink is really more of a blink...but your flirting
11) Your name... on your birth certificate... and that my name is on there too
12) Your kisses opened mouth, rare, and amazing
13) Your love of products especially body butter which you ask for by name "bobba bubba"
14) That when you fall asleep in the car you put your arms above your head and cross your ankles
15) You skip:) all the time
16) That when you see a dinosaur, a lion, or a pig you ROAR!
17) How when you really want something you whisper it
18) When you shush people it's kind of hilarious because you are so stinking loud.
19) You are a really beautiful kid
20) That you are mine and honestly if I could have handpicked your traits they would be all the ones you have. Funny, fast, strong, couragoeous, joyful, and stubborn.
Yesterday one of my friends kiddos said "Whenever I see Isaiah's face it is happy" I love that! Son you keep me on my toes and keep me laughing and keep me praying, and dancing, and doing all the things I should. You make me better at being me, I hope I can do the same for you.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Toeing the Line

For my whole walk as a Christian I feel like I have toed the line on "radical". I want a radically changed life but I don't want to radically change my life. I long to experience the move of the Holy Spirit but I don't want to clear out all the junk to make room for Him to do that. I feel itchy restless and distracted. I sit down to have some time with he Lord and my mind wanders, my phone beeps, a think about birthday parties, sweaters, bills, pintrest, paper work, and dinner. I call my attention back to my God again and again and finally get up frustrated that I can't keep my attention on the King of the Universe, my Creator for even 5 minutes at a time. I have felt God nudging me for years to give up this or fast from this, and get this, I put Him off. That's right I put off God. I think well I am a foster parent that is radical enough. But the bible says :
Matthew 16:25
For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

So I'm gonna try this year to uncurl my fingers one by one from the grip on all these pretty little things that I love so much. These things that keep me comfortable and distracted from seeing and hearing God clearly. I am excited and hopeful and scared; but I am ready for a radically changed life for a radically changed heart.